By Judith Tarr
Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Forge, 2001
Genres: Fantasy, historical fantasy, historical fiction
Series: Epona; 3
Number of pages: 415
Setting: City of Lir, Village of Long Ford, World’s End, Sea of Grass (open steppe)
Time period: Prehistory – Neolithic time period
Plot summary: When Rhian is born to the Mother in the City of Lir, there are some priestesses who want to kill her immediately. The portents reveal a time of destruction and evil associated with her. Rhian escapes an early death and grows up in a small village outside of the city, listening to what the wind tells her. When the priestesses make their rounds, choosing young women to come to the temple, they disregard Rhian and her innate abilities. It is then that Rhian chooses a different path for herself and the White Mare chooses her. Rhian soon finds herself on a journey to the east to meet The People of the Wind, who are travelling west and conquering all of the people whom they encounter.
Pacing: In general, the story has a moderate pace. Some parts move quite quickly, while others unfold more slowly.
Characterization: The story is told in third person from various perspectives. Rhian’s perspective is primary in the beginning of the story. Other perspectives come from Minas, Aera, and Emery.
Frame: The frame is set in the very beginning when Rhian is born. The reader is introduced to the priestesses and the culture of the city and learns that Rhian will have a difficult journey through life.
Story line: A finely crafted, prehistorical fantasy that includes a clash of cultures as well as two separate love stories.
Women prophets — Fiction
Goddess religion — Fiction
Prehistoric peoples — Fiction
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
Foundation by Mercedes Lackey
The Horse Goddess by Morgan Llwelyn
The White Mare by Jules Watson
Personal notes: I really enjoyed this book even though it took me a while to get through it. I’m glad to have read something by Judith Tarr now, since she will be at the next Tucson Festival of Books. She seems to be a very diverse writer and I imagine that I will read something by her again in the future.
Other: Diversity – priestesses, Mothers, daughter of the Mother, princes, kings, shamans, witch